Fire

I

The leaves rustle gently at first,

barely moving in the otherwise stagnant air.

But the wind comes, and will come again. 

Every year.

II

It’s eerily warm when

the hearty Santa Ana winds,

the december gusts, come 

to breathe full of life

limbs of dry straw.

Shrubbery sings with that transient weight;

shrubbery that won’t be here tomorrow.

III

Before the door could be closed

a delicate leaf let itself in.

Frail, yellow, brittle.

Winter boots shatter it; 

the shards driven into

the green carpet.

IV

Autumn came when no one was looking, quiet and still, 

but Winter knocked on the door.

Warm winds; loose leaves;

oak and sycamore;

helpless faces;

unpacked clothes strewn, full of life,

on the floor.

V

Fires often blow through on winds like these,

—the threat, toothsome and tangible—

but even as the wind whips

and the sparse clouds hurry across the sky,

cruel circumstance sits suspended in hot heavy air.

VI

Heavy walls went like cardboard 

big weight bearing beams became matchsticks

that snap between fat flaming fingers

recollection ripped out of picture frames

folders full of ash

crumpled filing cabinets

and melted metal memories 

a world engulfed

in wind

in the night

in warm welling eyes

in the sweltering night.

VII

Gnawing on the bones

baying at the hunt

howling in the wind

a hound of three heads sicced 

uncontrollable 

delighting in the chaos 

in pandemonium’s wild embrace.

VIII

silence settled,

the land rested.

no fireman’s boots,

no tennis shoes,

no cars,

no buildings,

no birds.

Just cold black earth,

warm embers,

warm breeze.

IX

Green growth sparsely populates the scorched earth.

Grasses, gaining ground.

But deep in the center the blackness still sits.

Telling you things are not as they once were,

Succession is a process, aching and raw;

but nothing could be so delicate and pure

as the inkling of new life

among black expanse.

X

These winds will whip 

hearts to attention

for years to come.

From: KPCC

A year like no other—2020 in review

in shuttering silence

happiness is fleeting

buoyancy is turbulent 

and the grey world deteriorates

breath is belabored

and the periphery begins to seep in

the color is fading fast 

fast

faster still than hot flames

the fury and the fire in the center

burns has burned and will burn

hot

hotter than before

but still it burns through its fuel

and the sides still fall away than the center can build back

better to be honest 

better to be free

better to seek the middle even as the edges fray

better to worry about the now than lose hope in the future

as the color fades into gray

Andrea Mantovani for The New York Times

A Cold Ocean’s Call

it was bitter and cold 

in the great green pacific.

and the warmth crawled out from my bones

as the words in my head slowed their swirling.

instead of going with them,

there I would sit 

socks in the sand

I kept high and dry

Always away from that wet;

I hadn’t yet felt it’s unavoidable pull

that siren’s song.

I hadn’t let the cold seep in,

I hadn’t plunged into the ocean,

But I would.

The ocean begs for our attention

it begs for big words

and soft sounds

a deft touch 

and a guiding glance

to make sure

that we

who sit in stony silence 

will be kept in time

by the rising and falling of 

the great green pacific

From: Surf Simply

suffocation

grey muffled voices–

shuttered dusty white shades that don’t rotate

that don’t move,

that bend and shake as you pull the little white cord.

Never more than the briefest glimpse of light peeks through.

it’s oppressive in that warm room

the floor creeps toward the ceiling 

the walls pour in from the sides

the carpet pulls the fight from the soles of your feet

the white walls.

the relentless clock.

the viscous air.

and your feet cemented to the floor,

body still,

heart racing.

and the voices,

the walls,

the shades.

your feet that won’t move,

your labored breathing,

the creeping white walls,

and the encroaching ceiling.

from Saatchi Art

Chaos’ Defeat

For many infinities Chaos had held the burden of perfection,

and Time had sat silent and watched.

The immense weight of nothingness pressed down upon Chaos

Like cold black rocks piled one by one;

each stone pressed upon his empty chest

and he lay tense, unmoving, bracing against the pain.

The cool dull pain.

Chaos’ eyes were tightly shut

to keep the darkness from getting out.

He was honorable, 

quiet, 

still, 

and focused on the weight of that expansive void.

Alone he was,

save his cruel companion,

fighting an endless battle against light and the evil it illuminates.

Time turned his grey gnarled hand over.

Chaos turned his head to look,

and within him something buckled.

And the beautiful darkness was covered in blinding light.

And now there were things in places.

Time bowed his head.

And Chaos sank back in defeat.

And the clamoring symphony began.

from wikimedia commons

Half

You are incapable of feeling that twang

Of injustice that is not tied to anything but your skin

And I know I don’t take it as seriously as I should

But it fucking cuts you open from skull to the floor of your stomach when you feel it

Especially when you aren’t used to it

Or when it comes from someone you love

When it’s just the thought of what their beloved racist relative might say

And it cuts through all the layers of not worrying about it

All the social justice work they put in, all the donations

“But sweet grandma would be uncomfortable at the dinner table

It’s so you don’t have to deal with her really,

I’m doing it for you.”

What it comes down to is the fact that it is real for me

That I have to call my dad and ask him what to do

Even though I only have one option and that’s to let it roll off like duck feathers

And quite honestly I think you are just invalidating my feelings, or my experience

And that sucks

Because even though you denounce racism, of course, obviously

It’s only when the victim qualifies, meets your standards.

Do I not qualify for injustice?

Because when it comes crashing through my life

It sure feels like I should

from facebook


found at sea

I leaned against the slippery wet rubber of my raft

drifting endlessly into bitter infinities

as the wind lashed, the cold bit, the darkness enveloped,

and the wet seeped in from all sides, 

I looked across the ever changing ocean and saw that warm incandescent light

like an embers in a sea of ash

and just barely when the waves willed it

i could see into the ship that radiated your warmth

into the tiny window with a light on

into the entire world of you

writing a to-do list

pc: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/535013630705414606/

why not to call me a bigot

To whoever called me a bigot on instagram,

I understand where you are coming from, I must seem pretty awful to you. I am sorry you feel that way, I wish it wasn’t so. I wish I didn’t mess up too. But I really want to talk about your point because I feel like we can all benefit from thinking more deeply about what your words mean to people like me. So, I thought maybe I should propose a little thought experiment:

So, lets presume for a second that I am a bigot, that I am intolerant of other cultures, of races that arent white (although I am brown,) of gay people, of transgender folk, and of women. And I was trying to adjust my image so some college would admit me, would it be a good thing to reprimand me for trying to seem less intolerant? Presumably showing me that there is no way I can fit into a society that you live in. Maybe I would feel hurt and I would confide in communities which tell me that my bigotry is okay. Is that what you want?  Or, on the other hand, would it be better to tell me, a bigot, that I had improved and that I am a better person, to offer me acceptance and forgiveness, which would probably encourage me to continue on a path that would eventually lead me to abandon my bigoted views and instead embrace diversity and inclusion. 

Now, presume for just a moment that I am not, in fact, a bigot. That I am someone who genuinely has learned from my mistakes. I am someone who has been educated and now has an understanding of both sides of the story, I am someone who is trying to make a difference in this world, to teach other people that don’t understand the impacts of their actions the importance of forethought and understanding of other peoples. Would it be a good idea to tell this person that they are a bigot? Showing them that maybe despite their 180º that no one will ever accept them within a diverse community. Showing them that they are permanently canceled and they may never be able to rejoin your part of society. Maybe I would internalize this and come to the conclusion that no longer should I try in vain to be a good person and instead sink back into my past. Into the uneducation that led me to make my mistakes in the first place. Is this the impact you want to have with your post?

I think you intend to do good by calling me out. I really do. I think you are trying to do something to benefit communities which I hurt. To defend them in some way, by not letting me return to society easily.  But I think you need to think more deeply about the repercussions of your actions.

Luckily, I know I am not a bigot, I know that the pain I caused my peers at —— was a result of my uneducation, not of prejudice. I know I posted those things in satire. I know that the mistakes I made were not because of hatred but because of stupidity. And I also know that the people in my life who I respect and love are of the same opinion. So I won’t seep into the recesses of hatred and intolerance,  I will continue to do my best to make this world a better place. But that is luck. If I didn’t know any of that, your words could have done real harm. Real harm to communities that you think you are helping by calling me out. So, once again, in the best interest of the communities you think you are defending, don’t call me a bigot.

 I am not one. 

PC: wikimedia commons

P.S. 

I tried to frame this argument as objectively as I could, but I still feel like I need to address my feelings a little bit. You really hurt me by calling me a bigot. I feel like someone who has tried my best to not only try to learn from my mistakes but to actively try to make others not fall into the mistakes that I made. I know that the actions I have taken after ——— have done good in this world and in the communities that I am a part of. And for that to be met with your post and comment really hurts me, I know that is probably not worth much in your eyes but I still felt like my feelings needed to be acknowledged.

Stars on the Open Ocean

the men in that big wooden boat heaved against the ocean

that endless blue

through the night they rowed

moving galaxies out of the way with each successive stroke

in the middle of the boat seated parallel to the back of the outrigger

one man focussed on his brown arm and the way it seemed to work by its own volition

his bicep roared in its quiet fight against the mighty open

In the back of the boat one man fell so deep within himself that he lost track of the stars

but the boat knew the way

and right here sat a boy who simply rowed

in time

open like the ocean

https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/2016/08/26/hawaii-news/two-day-oil-painting-workshop-at-volcano-art-center/

an argument

her face hit the granite countertop just like that

with the force of 14 porcelain bowls hitting the ground

and thus ended the argument

there is no arguing at that point

what is there to say?

I’m sorry but…

ruins an argument regardless how well formed

in spinning systems a world was bent backwards into something far more intangible than emotion–no room to move as socks stick to floors that won’t let loose–and it gets to be so close, the walls, the center, the drapery–and it will not let loose–and it refuses to leave–with no where to go

he walked back and took shelter in the wall

averting his eyes

aware of the nerves in his front teeth

and feeling sick down in the bottom of his being